By Julia Cardi
The Evanston boys basketball team used the three numbers as its battle cry through strenuous conditioning sessions this past offseason, and the Wildkits put 3-19-16 in group text messages and chanted the sequence after practices and games.
March 19, 2016 is the date of this year’s state championship.
“We have that one common goal in mind. … We all know that date is what we’re going for,” said senior Charlie Maxwell.
The Wildkits shortened their road to the championship by one more game with a 56-29 regional semifinal win over the Glenbrook South Titans Tuesday night. The victory earned the Wildkits (22-5) a trip to the regional final Friday while the Titans ended their season at 12-16.
Evanston held Glenbrook South’s Jimmy Martinelli to just six points, a rare feat considering the junior’s skill as a down-low shooter who regularly scores in the double digits for the Titans.
Maxwell had a key role in stopping him. With previous matchups against Martinelli this season, Maxwell said he’d developed a grasp on Martinelli’s playing style.
“I knew when he would drive one way, he’d like to spin back another way, and also my teammates helped call out a lot of screens because the offense runs through him a lot,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell finished with seven points and five rebounds for the Wildkits. “[Maxwell] doesn’t stuff the stats sheet with points, rebounds and assists, but he’s a high-energy guy who’s a senior that doesn’t want his career to end,” said Evanston coach Mike Ellis.
Senior Dylan Mulvihill led the Wildkits in scoring with 13 points, the only Evanston player to post more than 10. Ellis called his steady performance “the Dylan we’ve had all season.”
“He really provides our backbone in the front court,” Ellis said. “He is the guy that makes multiple efforts, not just a center that plugs up a lane. He’s out there moving and recovering, helping, talking.”
Mulvihill modestly shrugged off his contributions in a supporting role. “It’s just my job on the team to always be solid, always be the rock in the middle of the offense and defense. I know my role is important so all these guys can play to their strengths,” he said.
Both Mulvihill and Maxwell treasure the win as seniors.
“I get to play another day of basketball,” said Maxwell. “That’s what I’m focusing on, every time I go on the court – every practice, every game, is to play another day of basketball, because after this, I’m done.”
“It’s just nice knowing I get at least two more practices coming up in the next couple of days,” said Mulvihill. “I just have to cherish every second I have with these guys.”